Thursday, August 29, 2013

Back-to-School Fairy

She's back!!! Last year I wanted to do more things for my kids that would make lasting memories. What better way to make memories than start traditions? You can see last year's BTSF post here.
So basically, the BTSF leaves a little note and gift on the doorstep, rings the doorbell , and somehow disappears before the kids even get a chance to see where she went. This all happens as the kids are getting ready for bed the night before school starts. The note usually complements them on how much they learned last year and suggests that they keep learning. Recently we have been having issues with bossiness. The BTSF knew this and gave some advice that our kiddos really seemed to take to heart. This year, the BTSF was long winded. My hubby asked why the BTSF would leave such a long note for a couple of beginning readers! Just a suggestion... =)
Here is how our adventure played out this year:

And Open!

This year, the BTSF left some markers, school supplies, sunglasses, a craft item, and a new shirt.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Are We There Yet? Ideas

Finally, I am just beginning to post about our summer trip. I thought this day would never come! So, our trip entailed me driving with 3 kids under 6 for 16 hours for the first visit. Then 8 hours for the next visit. During the first visit we ended up driving 8 additional hours and during the second visit we ended up driving another additional 8 hours. Needless to say, this was a trip of many many many hours in a vehicle. I knew before we left that I needed to do something to help keep my sanity as well as keeping the kids behaving well.

I started with non other than Pinterest. I found many posts such as this, this, and an idea that doesn't take you to the actual link which are things called snack boxes.

I liked the idea of each hour giving the kids a new something, but hauling around bags of goodies for each hour of our trip times 3 for 3 kids, seemed like a bit much. Instead of opted for trip clips and snack boxes.

Here is how mine turned out:

Blue for my boy, purple for one of the girl's favorite color, and pink for the other's favorite color.

These are my snack boxes. I made them labels to match the color of their clips.

I used colored permanent markers, glue, clothespins, and scrapbook materials for the decor. I colored the clips in the color of the decor and glued them on. Very simple.

I also had $1 store bins that I filled with their choice of 2 toys, crayons, stickers, a few $1 store toys, and an empty lined notebook. The bins had the same label that their snack boxes had. These boxes sat next to them during the trip. Each visit, I would clean them out so they were always ready for the next car trip.

Okay, so how did I use the clips and snack boxes? I had the clips which didn't fit on the visor clipped to a drop down compartment in the front of the car that is used to hold a garage door opener but is always empty. Whenever the kids were mean to each other or were non compliant to what I asked the lost their clips. Sometimes I would say things like, "Uh Oh, we don't want to loose any clips." Other times I would reach up and take a clip down without saying a word. This seemed to work the best because even though they would cry a bit, we would talk about how they could get the clip back up. For them to earn it back they had to use nice and kind words and/or help each other. I would make a huge deal about earning it back. Each hour whoever had a clip up would get to pick a snack from their snack box. 

The snack boxes were just an ingenious idea. Not only did it help with behavior issues, but each gas station stop was not filled with can we get this? What about this? Pleeeeeese? The trip also lacked these: "Mommy, I'm hungry!" "I'm starving!" "Can we stop and get a snack?" Which saved me a ton of money.

Every long trip we take will include these three elements for sure!

Saturday, August 24, 2013

4th of July Nails

My kids love their nails painted. They don't last long, but it sure is fun to do them all fancy. I also need to have my nails painted otherwise I end up biting them without even realizing I'm doing it. I have fond memories as a young girl doing nails with my mom. Back then all we had was color and jewels and stickers which was always so fun to get into. These days, you basically name it and they have it. I really enjoy getting out all the cool nail tools we have and playing around with them.

For this year's 4th of July, the girls wanted something fun. So that is just what we did...

Mom's nails

5 year old's nails.

6 year old's nails.

We also did their toes. We did them the exact opposite of their nails. For example, my 5 year old's nails have the left hand blue with white dots for stars; therefore, her right toes have blue with white dots for stars. 

I think I should start posting more fun nail art since we do it all the time! =)

Monday, August 19, 2013

Spice Game

Last week I posted about a cousin's bridal shower. As a co-host, I was asked to come up with a couple games. I want to share one with you today.

This is similar to the white stuff game if any of you know what that is. Basically, each guest has to guess what each spice is by smelling and seeing it through the container. I had 3 sets of 3 spices that were similar. For example, I had 3 red spices, 3 white spices, and 3 green spices that all looked and some even smelled similar. If I was playing this game, I'd have no clue. 

Before you begin, make sure to make a "teacher copy" (you can't tell I'm a teacher, can you?) that has the answers so you don't forget what they are!

You will want to give each spice a number. Have the guests number their papers 1-9 or however many spices you have. Then start passing them around allowing the guest to only smell and see the spices. If you want it really tough, don't give them the overall list of spices. If you want it simpler, you can provide a list of all the spices for them to choose from. I actually typed all the spices in a word document, copied and pasted it enough times to accommodate all our guests, cut the lists into little pieces of paper, and had them write the number that matched the listed spice on their small papers.

I wanted the bride-to-be to take these spices home for her use, so I bought new spices. I opened and folded the paper seal under lid with holes to pour only enough to be able to smell them, and I replaced both lids. I kept the seals attached, however, so that we could unfold them and re-screw the lids as if they were new. I also told the bride-to-be that these were hers and explained to her what I did and that they were new. She didn't mind at all that we used them. Because of the no touching rule of the game, no one had their fingers all over the lid or in the spices. 

To hide the label of the spice so that it would still be usable afterwards, I simply covered it with paper. I used red for the red spices, green for the green spices, and yellow for the yellow spices. After cutting the paper into strips big enough to hide the label, I drew numbers similar to these. Then I taped the paper onto the spice container making sure I did not get tape on the actual label so it would be intact after the game.

Silly me, I meant to get pictures of all the spices lined up ready for the game and even during the game, but I was too busy playing co-host. =( 

It was a great game and there was only one person who got all the spices right... the bride-to-be! 

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bridal Shower Cake

Before what seems to be my bi-annual trip to Utah and Nevada to visit family over the summer, I was a co-host for a cousin's bridal shower. In the past I have made a couple diaper cakes for baby showers, but I saw this pin on Pinterest and wanted to give it a try for quite some time.

I would love to add a link for you to this picture to give credit where credit is due, but the link from Pinterest for this picture is broken. So, to make sure, this is not my work though it is very cute and I'd love to take credit, I cannot.
However, by the end of this post I will have created my own cute kitchen/bridal shower/new house (call it what you will) cake.

The first step is to research. Look at bridal registries or find out favorite colors to know what direction you want to take the colors of the cake. My cousin's colors for her kitchenware on the registries she created were black and red. She is also a very shimmery person as in she has a very fun and sparkly personality. Additionally, she is very fashion forward so I knew I wanted something hip rad cool fly super sweet sick--which I still don't get. I, for one, would rather be super sweet than sick, just sayin' =)-- 
[insert the most trendy and up-to-date word for awesome here].

This was actually a gift to my cousin from my mother-in-law and me so we went shopping together. Our haul included:
4 black and white and 4 red kitchen towels (the bigger kind), 4 black dish towels (the smaller kind), 2 black pot holders, a red oven mitt, a pizza tray, and various kitchen tools in red, black, and silver
We also got a roll of black tulle and a roll of sparkly silver ribbon.
You will also need a roll of paper towels, a plastic serving size bowl, and safety pins or the kind of pins you use for sewing projects.

This step is very optional, but I think it adds to the finished product. Loosely wrap tulle around the outside of the pizza pan. You can tape it to make sure it stays.

The base of the cake is the pizza pan, a roll of paper towels, and a bowl. 
I do not have a picture of this because I had to add the bowl after the 2 other times I made it. When the cake was completed, I had my husband take it up to his mom's house (an hour away) where the shower was going to be. He took is large diesel truck which is incredibly bumpy. Not only did the bumpy ride help the cake to slump down terribly, but when he handed it to his mom he spun it to her with one hand as if he was some sort of great server in a fun restaurant. As he was doing this he added "Mom, I don't know what this is, but I was supposed to bring it to you so here." It didn't look very good after all that. So a few days before the shower, we went to get a large plastic serving bowl to add more structure. The bowl I got had a lid which I put right under the bowl.

So your cake should be in this order so far from bottom up: Pizza pan, tulle-if desired, lid-if your bowl came with one, bowl face up, roll of paper towel sitting inside the bowl.

Begin with the larger towels laid out and folded lengthwise into thirds.

Then roll both ends toward the middle. When you stand it up it should look like this. Place these rolls inside the bowl around the roll of paper towels. If the towels do not fill up all the space around the paper towels leave the gap toward the back of the cake. In other words, push all the rolled towels together toward the front of the cake so there is no gap showing the paper towels. 

I didn't like the white stripes showing because it just didn't seem to fit with the way I wanted the cake to look so I covered them with the smaller plain black dish towels. You can just lay them down over and around the rolled black towels tucking as needed. However, when I added the bowl, I had to tuck the plain black towels into and under the bowl instead of the towels. Depending on your bowl and the rolled towels you have, you may have to make your own adjustments as needed.

Minus the ribbon, this is basically what your cake will look like so far. I only added the ribbon the first and second time I made it to help add structure and keep the towels together. The third time I made it, the bowl added the structure, and I didn't have to add the ribbon until the very end.

Working on the second tier of the cake, roll the second colored towels the way you did for the first colored set-folded lengthwise into thirds. These should easily cover the entire roll of paper towels; however, if not, make sure that the gap showing the paper towels is at the back. Set these towels on top of the bottom set of rolled towels with the rolls facing out, if you like it, or in, if you prefer it this way. You may need to tie your ribbon around this tier to help keep the towels together. I actually used tulle to hold this level together.

Next, it's time for the third level. This is the black pot holders. Wrapped around the roll of paper towels they almost covered the entire roll. Once again, I put the gap toward the back. Tuck these into the second tier. To cover all the gaps in the back, I used the red oven mitt tucked into the rolled towels. 

I knew I wanted some kind of bow or something for the cake topper. To accomplish this, I used strips of tulle and a silver twisty tie. It was cute, but not enough. So I added a dish scrubber.

I tucked the handle down the hole of the paper towel tube in the center of the cake.

This is when you can add your ribbon around each tier and all the various kitchen tools you got tucking them in here and there-wherever they look best to you. Before I added the bowl, I had several kitchen tools that I couldn't put into the cake because it was simply not strong enough to hold them all. After adding the extra support, I got all the tools in there.

This is the front of the final product with the added support.



Back. Oh, I should have suggested that you tie your ribbon or pin or safety pin your ribbon in the back. I ended up tying the tule, and pinning the ribbon.

And, this is my cousin-in-law who texted me this picture with the title "Our first new home gift."

So glad she liked it.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Lost in the summer

I have been so lost in the summer hustle and bustle that I have not had a chance to get online much let alone put up some posts. I have, however, kept up on my picture taking of all the fun things we have done this summer to post on here. I will get them up with time. I have a friend who has a couple of businesses plus she is a stay at home mom who is always doing really fun things with her kids. On top of everything she does, she also blogs. She gets up at least one post a week. While I am trying to get adjusted to a regular schedule and as school begins, that is my goal. Here is my to do list of things to come. I put it up here so that I can hold myself accountable for getting this stuff up, and let's face it, I really just don't want to forget any of the fun things I have to share with the world!

Bridal Shower Cake
Spice Game
4th of July Nails
Trip Behavior Management
M&M day- obstacle course
Shark Reef day- handmade jellyfish craft
Discovery Children's Museum day
Mint Julep Recipe
Crazy Cool Puppets/Masks
Never Enough Fluff- adding fluff to a pre made dress
Easy Hair Updo
Back-to-School fairy
Back-to-School traditions- breakfast, pictures
Back-to-School teacher gifts
Raspberry Jam
Weekly Cleaning Chart
Behavior Chart 
Are We There Yet? Ideas

Maybe by the time I get these things up I will have done tons more fun things to blog about. But until then, check back each week to see these awesome posts.

Here are some sneak-peek pictures to hold you over until I get all the other posts up...


 M&M World

Sugarless Wedding Cake =)
Are we there yet? Ideas